Tori No Su - Jumeirah at Ethad Towers, Abu Dhabi

Tori No Su is part of an impressive array of restaurants at the iconic Jumeirah at Etihad Towers. Since its debut, it has brought class and pizzazz to the Japanese dining scene. When I walked in, I could see why: you enter the restaurant at a door adjacent to the hotel. It creates a sense of anticipation. The hostess greets you at the door and leads you to a table. The setting is contemporary and cool, with stunning lighting. Low key but ample.

Seating is spacious and comfortable. There are various seating options: sushi bar and teppanyaki style seating allows a less kitschy and Americanised teppanyaki 'show'. THis is after all, an authentic dining venue. Also, there are seats available at the bar. Sofa seating is another option, while tables and chairs offer a more normal choice for the uninitiated.
Stylish, contemporary and chic.

Tori No Su is quite lively thanks to the cool tunes which are played, making sure you do not have an evening of muted pleasure.

A basic sake back in Japan, but part of an impressive list.
Tori no su offers an al carte menu. We had the sushi platter. Apart from the gorgeous presentation, the thing that stood out for me was the rice. I cannot begin to tell you how many times have I had sushi with rice that is generally par boiled. On this occasion, Chef Ando's team got it right. Also, I enjoyed the ultra fresh ingredients in my tofu and wakame salad, with the shiso leaf a welcome ingredient.  The delicately prepared tempura platter was also fantastic. It was my favourite dish on the night; it was perfectly crisp, reflecting good batter and deep frying at the perfect temperature. The accompanying tentsuyu (tempura sauce) was just right too - complementing rather than overpowering. Beautiful.

Sushi platter
The fish is exceptionally fresh
The wakame salad
The service, alluded to above, unfortunately, was the biggest let down. It just lacked the slickness that I expected from this fine restaurant. The staff I interacted with mostly  know their product, and I was able to engage in a discussion with some of them about the produce and its origins. However, the basics were lacking. It was necessary for me to pour my own sake and water on several occasions, which is nothing in itself, but from what I know about Japanese culture, you usually do not pour your own drink. Furthermore, the restaurant was not busy at all, and yet it was so hard to get a waiter or waitress to come to us. It was frustrating having to turn around so often to get help. (My seating was such that my back was turned to most of the staff). The ultimate annoyance came at the end when I tried in vain to get the bill. I promptly went to the hostess, and asked for the bill. Very disappointing.

Toro no su is not cheap. Again, not the major issue if it is an evening well spent. An acquaintance recently asked me to rate the most essential aspects of a dining experience. I rated service at number 1, ahead of taste, ambience and value for money. I also know it is not fair to malign a restaurant based on one experience, but suffice to say, that my first time at Tori no su turned out to be a major disappointment.

The low down

Tori no su
Jumeirah at Etihad Towers
+971 2 811 5666
Dinner 2 adults and 2 kids 800AED
(incl groupon voucher cost)